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    A New South Wales police officer has been found guilty of perjury after supporting his wife’s false sexual assault allegations against her former partner.

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      false sexual assault allegations

      False Sexual Assault Allegations

      A New South Wales police officer has been found guilty of perjury after supporting his wife’s false sexual assault allegations against her former partner.

      Scott John White gave evidence in support of Sarah Jane Parkinson, who was sentenced to jail after eventually she pleaded guilty to making a false statement.

      The officer will be sentenced at a later date.

      Sarah Jane Parkinson False Sexual Assault Allegations

      The false sexual assault allegation involved Sarah Jane Parkinson claiming her former partner had sexually assaulted her as she was hanging washing on the line. She alleged that in March 2014 he had slammed her head into a wall before committing a sexual intercourse without consent offence.

      When Police arrived they noticed that she was distressed.

      Her ex-partner was forced to spend a significant amount of time in jail before police realised they had made a mistake.

      In the course of the trial a senior police officer conceded it was a serious error.

      “The entire prosecution of [the man] was a mistake,” he said.

      The court heard that Parkinson and White are now married, with her changing her name to Sarah Jane White.

      Scott John White Perjury Charges

      Scott John White faced two perjury charges. The first charge related to an allegation that White lied when he gave evidence in court that the pair did not discuss their statements.

      The second count was that he lied when he said he and Sarah Jan Parkinson never used condoms.

      The relevance of that issue was that Parkinson claimed the man who sexually assaulted her used a condom, forced her to unwrap it and put it on him.

      A condom wrapper was found by police at the scene of the alleged incident.

      However, Mr White eventually admitted that the pair had used condoms.

      It was based on this admission that the jury found him guilty of perjury.

      In relation to the first count, Mr White stated that his assertion that he and Parkinson hadn’t discussed statements was a reference to domestic violence allegations Ms Parkinson made before the false sexual assault allegation.

      The jury were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on that charge.

      Scott John White will be sentenced next year. Parkinson was sentenced to full-time imprisonment when she faced sentencing.

      The Offence of Making a False Accusation in New South Wales

      The offence of making a false accusation in New South Wales is contained in Section 314 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which states that it is an offence for a person to make an accusation with the intention that another person to be the subject of an investigation of an offence, knowing that the other person is innocent.

      The maximum penalty for making a false accusation is seven years’ imprisonment.

      The Offence of Perjury in New South Wales

      If a person gives evidence in court or swears a false statement under oath, they may be guilty of the offence of perjury pursuant to section 327 of the Crimes Act 1900.

      The maximum penalty for perjury is 10 years’ imprisonment. This increases to 14 years imprisonment if the offender intended to procure the conviction or acquittal of a person for a ‘serious indictable offence’.

      A serious indictable offence is an offence that carries a maximum penalty of at least five years gaol.

      A person is guilty of perjury if the prosecution can establish, beyond reasonable doubt that:

      • A statement was made under oath,
      • That statement was false,
      • It was made in, or in connection with, judicial proceedings,
      • It concerned a matter which was material to those proceedings, and
      • The maker knew the statement was false or did not believe it was true at the time it was made.

      The Offence of Perverting the Course of Justice in New South Wales

      The offence of attempting to pervert the course of justice appears under section 319 of the Crimes Act 1900.

      The maximum penalty for perverting the course of justice is 14 years’ imprisonment.

      To establish that offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

      • You engaged in an act or made an omission, and
      • By that act or omission, you intended to pervert the course of justice.

      Section 312 of the Act defines perverting the course of justice as, ‘obstructing, preventing, perverting or defeating the course of justice or the administration of law’.

      What are Some Examples of Perverting the Course of Justice?

      Some examples of perverting the course of justice include:

      • Using another person’s phone or email to manufacture a defence to a crime,
      • Attempting to bribe a police or judicial officer to avoid being prosecuted or punished,
      • Falsely swearing or declaring that another person was responsible for an offence,
      • Encouraging or bribing another person to plead guilty to a crime they did not commit, or to provide a false alibi, or give false testimony in court.

      Why do people make false sexual assault allegations?

      The reasons why people make false sexual assault allegations can range from seeking revenge against former partners, assisting their family law case, financial reasons and even to gain sympathy.

      There is also research to suggest that false memories may be elicited when a person is attempting to deal with trauma from their past.

      Leading sexual assault lawyers often have to uncover a motive for a false accusation and bring to light evidence of this so that the charge can be withdrawn or dismissed. You can read about some of those cases by clicking here.

      The prevalence of false allegations of sexual assault is difficult to measure as there is no consistency in definition and classification of what actually is a false allegation, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

      If you are the victim of a false accusation and are facing criminal charges, you should contact an experienced criminal lawyer to give yourself the best chance of beating the case. Contact Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823 or email us at info@astorlegal.com.au.

      Judge Comments on False Sexual Assault Allegations

      False allegations in the Family Court have drawn attention and scrutiny in recent years. Most notably Justice David Collier – a fourteen-year veteran Judge in the Family Court of Australia –  suggested there was an increase in false allegations of child sexual abuse being made by women against their male former partners.

      He asserted that this was to prevent the father from contact with the children.

      “When you have heard the evidence, you realise that this is a person who’s so determined to win that he or she will say anything. I’m satisfied that a number of people who have appeared before me have known that it is one of the ways of completely shutting husbands out of the child’s life…It’s a horrible weapon.”

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